Netflix movie of the day: will Battleship be a direct hit or leave you board stupid?

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Movie of the Day

Every day, we cut through the bottomless list of streaming options and recommend something to watch. See all our Netflix movie of the day picks, or our Prime Video movie of the day choices.

When Battleship was announced, it was met with derision: if Hollywood was making a movie based on the board game where you try to guess where the other player’s ships are, it was surely a sign that filmmakers had run out of ideas. What next? A movie based on emoji? Pfft.

As the quote from Stuff.co.nz says above, some people will tell you that Battleship is a bad movie. And it is, but it’s also surprisingly good given the source material, which it doesn’t pay the slightest bit of attention to. And a movie with Alexander Skarsgård and Liam Neeson in it can’t be that bad if you’re looking for a mindless watch on Netflix.

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Can it?

Battleship: not likely to be remembered alongside Battleship Potemkin

The 1925 movie Battleship Potemkin is widely regarded as a masterpiece. It’s fair to say that the 2012 movie Battleship won’t be. And about the only thing it has in common with the board game it’s ostensibly based on is the name. It’s a military sci-fi action movie where space aliens come to earth and hide behind an impenetrable force field. Cue CGI.

Keith Garlington of Keith & The Movies was one of many non-fans, writing that “Underneath the bombastic veneer of grinding metal, explosions, and destruction lies a corny and often times ridiculous story that can’t be saved by the fancy coat of CGI paint.” Time Out Sydney said it was “logic-free Michael Bay-style fodder where nothing’s at stake and even the jingoism is hard to take seriously”.

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But the film does have its defenders – defenders such as Film 4‘s Catherine Bray, who says that it’s “An assault on reason, logic and complex characterisation, but in an enjoyable way, like a slightly less camp dramatisation of the Village People’s finest ship-based sing-song.” And Jason Gorber of ScreenAnarchy argues that “we should celebrate the explicit nature, the unabashed and unapologetic chutzpah of a film that dares to be stupid, yet does so with so much intelligence.” 

There’s a thin line between stupid and clever, and Battleship straddles it; it’s very, very silly but it’s silly in an action-packed and expensive way. The dialogue is terrible, the story never met a cliché it didn’t like and there’s one very key omission that might be a deal-breaker for fans of the game: as CinemaBlend reports: “Believe it or not, no one ever says the game’s signature line. So, let’s say it here, all together and with enthusiasm, ‘You sunk my Battleship!'”

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